Feb 28 2013 10:30am

The Title for Brandon Sanderson’s Second Stormlight Archive Book Has Been Revealed

Brandon Sanderson Words of Radiance Stormlight Archive book 2

Tor Books is excited to announce the title to the highly anticipated sequel to Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. The forthcoming second book in the multi-volume Stormlight Archive series will be called:

Words of Radiance

Below, Brandon Sanderson explains why he chose that title, what's in store for readers for the series, and what unwittingly tongue-in-cheek title the book was almost called.


From Brandon:

One of my goals for the Stormlight Archive, which you may have heard me discuss, is to focus each book on a specific character through a series of flashbacks. In a large series like this (the Stormlight Archive is two five-book sequences), it can be difficult to give each volume its own identity. By devoting a sequence of flashbacks in each book to a specific character, I can better separate the volumes in my mind—and therefore make them more distinctive to readers.

(By the way, the fact that Book Three will be Szeth’s book and Book Five Dalinar’s should not lead you to relax and take for granted that they will survive until those books. They might indeed; but I decided early on in the plotting that I was fine with having a flashback sequence at any point for a character who had died in a previous book. Just saying...)

The Way of Kings was Kaladin’s book. He will have a lot to do in Book Two, of course, and you can expect some great sequences within his viewpoint. However, the flashback sequences in Book Two belong to Shallan. In my notes for the series, I had planned for Shallan’s book to be named after the tome she is given at the end of the first novel: The Book of Endless Pages. On Roshar, that is a book of knowledge that can never be completed—because people should always be learning, studying, and adding what they’ve learned to it.

I don’t always think out book titles with marketing in mind, and a title isn’t set until the book is finished. In this case, once I mentioned the prospective title to my editor, he grinned and said, “Uh, are you sure you want to name a very long, very thick fantasy book The Book of Endless Pages?”

I hadn’t seen it, but as soon as Moshe mentioned it, I found myself chuckling. That’s not a good reaction to a book title. Now, if I’d still been in love with the title, I’d have kept it no matter what—and let the reviewers have their fun. However, the more I thought about the title, the less I liked it. It didn’t quite capture what the book was about.

And so, the search for a new title began. Naming books can be really, really hard. Some do pop out immediately (The Way of Kings, for example), but finding others can be as productive as beating your head against a wall. The more you work on the book, the more it takes on a distinctive identity to you—and the harder it is to name it, since you have a “feel” for the book in your head and need a name that truly fits that.

Lots of people weighed in with their feelings on Stormlight Two. For a while, I toyed with titles that still had “book” in them, as I liked how that fit with Shallan’s scholarly nature. The Book of Lies was one of these, as was The Book of Dusk and Dawn. (As a side note, being a fan of Magic: The Gathering makes naming things harder sometimes, since the creative team over at Wizards has named A LOT of cards—and the titles I think of sometimes sound too much like things they’ve done. That’s why Book of Fact and Fiction was dead the moment it occurred to me.)

Moshe suggested Lightweaver as a title. It was thematically important (as a hint, one of the orders of the Knights Radiant was the Lightweavers) and hence appropriate. However, having just been involved in a book called A Memory of Light, I wanted to avoid having “light” in this title.

In the last few months, the title that has really been sticking with me is Words of Radiance. (Admittedly, “radiance” is a synonym for “light,” but at least it’s a step away.) With “words,” it still has a slight tie to my original desire to have “book” in the title, and I believe it’s significantly meaningful for people who have read the first novel. It also works very well for reasons that I can’t tell you now without spoiling the story.

So there we are! Words of Radiance. The book finally has a title. Now if I can just get back to writing the thing, life will be groovy. (And for future reference, I don’t expect this will be the only entry in the series to change names from its working title to its real title. Stones Unhallowed, Szeth’s book, might change. Highprince of War, Dalinar’s book, most certainly will.)


Brandon has been documenting his writing process for Words of Radiance through a series of videos documenting him literally writing Words of Radiance on his computer. Take a look!

Words of Radiance, book two in the Stormlight Archive, is tentatively scheduled to arrive in fall 2013. No specific release date has been announced.

John Skotnik
1. ShooneSprings
Thanks for the insight! I love these behind the scenes pieces.
2. Stone
Can't wait to read this book. Words of Radiance sounds like it's going to be an amazing book.
Aaron Moss
3. bruceiv
Looking forward to it. Did anyone else notice the glaring ommission of information about Book 4, though?
4. Trae
I'm so looking forward to Stormlight 2! (No "glaring omission" in my mind; just an oversight.)
Harry Burger
6. Lightbringer
Will we ever get a book full of Hoid flashbacks?
Anastasia Burina
7. Radda
I still love The Book of Endless Pages but Brandon is right - on works with his typical length it will look ridiculous.
And yes, what about the fourth book?
8. Freelancer
Was this the title bounced around during the Seattle AMoL signing event?
Jason Wesbrooks
9. jwesbrooks
Hope this comes out in the fall - been too long since TWoK.
10. Beauad
Omg can't wait for books 3 and 5, Szeth and Dalinar both rule. Both so does Shallan. I'm glad I have a great series to look forward to now that WoT is done.
Carl Engle-Laird
11. CarlEngle-Laird
My guess about book 4 is that he doesn't want to reveal whose viewpoint it will focus on. Either a new character or someone we don't realize is colossally important yet. I do like the idea of a Stormlight Archive book about Hoid, but I think that's a little less likely.
12. Lalo
I have to admit I would have found it hilarious if the book had been called "The Book of Endless Pages". Though that can sort of be the subtitle to The Stormlight Archive? Since really even after the books end the story isn't REALLY over...

I can't WAIT for this book though. And thank you for the insight its always fascinating to read about stuff that as a reader we're just like "How DO they think of such perfect things?"
Alice Arneson
13. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @8 - I think it's okay to share this now, recorded from discussions with the Seattle Memory Keepers; I didn't want to publish it until the final decision on the title was announced, but it was really funny. Brandon was talking to us about the potential titles...
(Verbatim except for the chaos parts - I wish I could get those verbatim too, but there are too many people talking at the same time, and I can't sort it out. So I just managed to pick out most of what Brandon and Harriet said.)
Brandon: I’ve got three names, and you can tell me what you think. Peter wants “Knights Radiant”; Moshe, my editor, wants “Lightweaver”; and I want “The Words of Radiance.” For the second Stormlight book.
(general chaotic discussion of names, pros and cons)
Harriet: I don’t like yours, it’s too long.
Brandon: They like “Lightweaver” – I’m worried, having a book called “A Memory of Light” and then another one with Light in the title the same year, which was why I didn’t go with that.
(more general chaotic discussion)
Brandon: You guys are voting for Knights Radiant. It seems too on the nose for me, is the thing. Like naming Pat’s (Rothfuss) new book “Kvothe has sex” or something like that, you know? Yes, it’s what the book’s about, but it’s very on the nose – it’s exactly what the book’s about. Does that make sense? That’s why it bothers me, but that’s why all the marketing people are like “Yeah, that’s what it’s about! Let’s make it!”
Harriet: Think. up. a. new. one.
Brandon: Yeah, but Moshe needs it like two weeks ago!
Harriet: Some other weaver. Radiant Weaver.
Brandon: Hey, that’s not bad. That’s actually good. You can make it two words.
(more chaos)
Harriet: It’s better than the other three. I haven’t read a word of it...!
It was the alternate name for The Wise Man's Fear that killed me. :)
14. Chelli
I'm interested about the comment "the Stormlight Archive is two five-book sequences." We've all known from the beginning that it's a ten-book series, but I didn't know it was divided in half. I wonder what this means, exactly.
Orayelle Johnson
15. Orayelle
Haha, so excited! It'll take a while in my mind, though, to go from "Stormlight 2" to Words of Radiance!
Ross Newberry
16. rossnewberry
Maybe book 4's flashback portions belong to a certain character who shows up toward the end of Book 1.
17. Ephidel
bruceiv @3 - The Coppermind wiki lists book 4 as focusing on Navani, which I wouldn't have expected.
18. VB13
@Wetlandernw "Kvothe had sex ", new reason to like Brandon Sanderson.
19. Herb7
So Harriet doesn't need to know what a book is about to name it....
20. Ephidel
Chelli@14 - He's mentioned it before. From the sound of it something rather definitive happens in book 5 that makes it more of a conclusive stopping point than normal. Maybe Odium is defeated and there's really some greater evil behind it all. Maybe after book 5 there's a time skip. Maybe everyone's just dead by then, who knows.

But after that his plan (as of now atleast) is to stop writing Stormlight for a few years after book 5 and catch up on some other stuff. I think thats when he he plans to write the 2nd Mistborn trilogy.
Alice Arneson
21. Wetlandernw
Herb7 @19 - Harriet did a full line edit on WoK, so she's very familiar with the Stormlight Archive. She's also a very experienced editor, and knows a lot more than most of us about the shaping of titles. And of course she heard all the (chaos) discussion that I was unable to transcribe, and she knows as much as anyone there (except Brandon) what the book is about - and he asked us for our thoughts. Somewhere in the (untranscribed chaos) Brandon expressed an interest in any suggestions we might have - so clearly, he didn't think we had to have read the book in order to give him viable ideas to work with. Harriet merely tossed this one out as another possible angle to consider. Text does not, unfortunately, convey vocal inflections very well; her comment about not reading it was said in a tone that clearly indicated (at least to me), "Not having read a word of it, take that for what it's worth - but as an editor, there are certain things that simply do and do not work well in titles, and as a generic title, this works better than the others." But I was giving a verbatim transcription, so I didn't fill in my interpretations of everyone's comments.
22. Malkobot3000
I think the title is great. Of the main 3 titles that seemed to be the finalists, it gets my vote and I'm glad it was chosen. It's a great breadcrumb to follow because when you say "Words" even without the radiance it draws me right back into Roshar. What did I immediately think of? "Brother... You must find the most important words a man can say". (I don't have the book handy I'm at work, i hope my quote is close there). Words are such a big player and there's so much more for us readers to discover. Are Words of Radiance a thing? is it a generalization? I can't wait to find out. Keep up the good work Brandon.
23. Pjbwilson
Well I can't wait for the second book, haven't been this excited for the next book in a series since the first half of WoT.
24. Quintus
I find "The Book of Endless Pages" so wonderfully cheeky as a title, I'd really, really like to see a book named so one day. Anyway, Michael Ende got away with "The Neverending Story", so why not?
Alan Courchene
25. Majicou
@24: Yeah, and his name is "Ende," for cryin' out loud. Die Unendlische Geschichte by Mike End. If it were to be called The Book of Endless Pages, I'd laugh and laugh and then read the book in probably as few sittings as possible, but of course I'm not sure Tor or retailers would be quite as amused.
26. Nick S.
Very nice to see a title announced... but honestly, I actually would have preferred The Book of Endless Pages, joke or not!
JOhn Johnson
27. smileyman
I actually love the idea of calling the next one The Book of Endless Pages. It's so completely what Brandon does, and I think it'd be a very fun poke in the eye to reviewers and publishers.

I also have to say that the font choice for the series works so much better if there's an image in the background--the mockup of the title for this post just looks awful (in my opinion of course), yet the same font is put to great use in The Way of Kings, where it's able to be set off against the wonderful cover art.
28. Trae
I'm fine with the title although I have to admit being immensely curious about "Words". Just what words are being referred to here? That they and the title are "Words of Radiance", does this imply that the flashbacks within Shallan's upcoming story (given all that we know of her already) have to do with her experience as an potential Radiant? A potential reincarnation of one? A new incarnation? A channeler of an incarnation? An assassin? Please don't laugh! We readers already know of her ability and experience in Roshar, plus we know of her challenged memory. Hmm ... Shallan/challenged; just a thought. Further, just how do you think the relationship between Shallan and Jasnah might now develop? In all honesty, I'm really looking forward to learning more of/reading more about this!
Birgit F
29. birgit
When the whole series is done, they should publish it as an e-book and call it The Book of Endless Pages.
32. bluepatch21
Very excited to read it. Great story telling!
33. senthilkumar
a short series of books is okay or you should be publishing one volume every 3 or 4 months,25 book series is very long and one should have in mind wheel of time series of robert jordan
34. Ephidel
I really liked the title The Book of Endless Pages, because I thought Sanderson was starting a pattern where every book in the series was named after an in universe book, which would have been really clever. Combined with the fact the series is called The Stormlight *Archive* it was near genius, since it would then be an archive of in universe books.
35. Quintus
@34: That's one of the advantages of writing that you can shape what's being written over and over again. I'm pretty sure then that we'll see "Words of Radiance" as a book on Roshar.
36. Litsyemir
I'm paraphrasing - "The words, Kaladin! Remember the Words!" You know, near the end of the book when Kaladin remembers the words of the Knights Radiant? Words of Radiance? Anyone? Yeah?
37. barlimor
Gameplan: Audible to the title Book of Fact or Fiction and get Terese Nielsen onboard to do the art haha. Hearing Brandon is a fan of MtG really made my day.

Also, Kvothe has sex is simply hillarious
Houston Armstrong
38. Kalak
Perfect name! I really want to know more about the Knights Radiant now, it seems they would be relevant here and I hope they will make a stronger apperance in this next instalation.
39. NLK
A great book that I would love ot read
40. Eamonn
Tentatively scheduled for release in late 2013? Really don't like the sound of that. Think ill delay my second reading of way of kings for a few more months.
41. Freelancer
It beats scheduled for release anytime later than in late 2013. According to Brandon's own website, his formal first draft is 55% complete, and as of today he has exactly one month to get that first draft to his editor to remain on schedule for an expected November release date. That isn't going to be easy.
shomnath bayaca
43. adeodadus
I greatly appreciate how the Stormligh Archive's story is creating scenes and unfolding in my imagination.

"Brandon: You guys are voting for Knights Radiant. It seems too on the nose for me, is the thing. Like naming Pat’s (Rothfuss) new book “Kvothe has sex” or something like that, you know?"

Hahaha _ as a Kvothe series reader, I get that..!
44. CrunchyFrog
I am thinking book four should be centered on
Jasnah and be called "Heretic of thruth".... Just saying she has strong potential. Good charecter.
Jason Briggs
45. Xrayjay72
Here is a link of Brandon Sanderson reading from the first chapter of the second Storm light book. He said the he had only written this part 2 hours prior to the reading, so less than 24 hours from this post. Enjoy!

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